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A Shocking Survey Sheds Light on Teachers’ Experiences of Physical Assaults and Abuse

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) conducted a poll that revealed alarming statistics about the safety of teachers in UK schools. The poll, which included responses from 8,466 NASUWT members across the country, found that over 10% of teachers had experienced physical assaults from pupils in the past year. What’s more, a staggering 28% of teachers reported being verbally abused by a parent or carer. The survey also revealed that nearly half of the respondents, 48%, did not believe that their school’s behaviour policy was effective.

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Teachers Speak Out About Their Experiences

During the union’s annual conference, teachers came forward to share their experiences of physical abuse, racism, and sexual assault that they had experienced while on the job. Some teachers recounted being kicked, bitten, punched, and slapped by pupils, while others revealed instances of verbal abuse, including derogatory, racist, and homophobic language, as well as threats of rape, sexual assault, being stabbed, or threats to harm their families.

Wendy Exton, a teacher with 28 years of experience, urged the union to take a stand against such behaviour. Exton emphasised that teachers are living in fear of verbal and physical violence, and the rise of online pornography has only made the situation worse. Exton urged the union to spread the message that such behaviour would not be tolerated, and employers must take swift action to deal with violence and abuse in their schools.

Teachers’ Shocking Experiences of Abuse

The NASUWT survey revealed that physical assaults are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuse in UK schools. Teachers have been subjected to various forms of abuse from pupils, including pushing and shoving (22%), threats of physical assault (19%), and verbal abuse (58%). One respondent shared that they had a student who regularly threw chairs at them and threatened to kill them and their family. Another respondent shared that they had been verbally abused, spat at, sworn at, pushed, punched, kicked, and even sexually harassed.

The Importance of Effective Risk Assessments

The NASUWT has raised concerns about employers’ failure to protect teachers from aggressive pupils. The union fears that employers are either not completing risk assessments or are treating them as a mere paper exercise. According to the union, school leaders are not being given sufficient guidance on the completion of risk assessments for violent pupils.

The Union’s Response to Abuse

The NASUWT is taking a stand against physical and verbal abuse in UK schools. The union has called on employers to carry out effective risk assessments and to take swift action to protect teachers from aggression and violence. The NASUWT has also committed to supporting and protecting its members by any means necessary. The UK Department for Education (DfE) has stated that no teacher should feel unsafe or face violence in the workplace. The DfE has launched a £10m Behaviour Hubs programme to improve pupils’ behaviour by partnering schools with selected lead schools and multi-academy trusts. Additionally, the DfE has updated its Behaviour in Schools guidance to provide advice on creating a whole-school culture that explicitly sets out what good behaviour looks like, in the hope that it will establish calm and safe environments.


The NASUWT survey has highlighted the urgent need for schools to take more action to protect teachers from abuse and violence. Employers must carry out effective risk assessments, and provide guidance on how to deal with violent pupils. Teachers should be able to work in a safe and secure environment, and it is the responsibility of schools and the government to make sure this happens. The NASUWT is right to call for change, and the government must act quickly to ensure that every teacher in the UK feels safe and protected while doing their job.

Take Action Against Abuse and Violence

It is crucial that the public is aware of the shocking statistics and experiences highlighted by the NASUWT survey. We must all take a stand against violence and abuse in schools and demand that our government takes immediate action to ensure the safety of our teachers. By speaking out against such behaviour, we can make a positive difference in the lives of teachers and pupils across the UK.

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Hi I'm Oliver Smith, I would say that I take great pride in my work as a journalist and strive to produce high-quality, impactful stories that make a difference. With more than eight years of experience under my belt, I am passionate about uncovering the truth and shining a light on issues that matter.


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